Sunday, 20 January, 2019

Man City boss Guardiola dismisses 'ridiculous' four-peat hopes

Gabriel Jesus Gabriel Jesus has scored five goals in Manchester City's past two games
Rita Gibson | 14 January, 2019, 19:45

City will be hoping any rift between Guardiola and De Bruyne will not affect results on the pitch as the Sky Blues chase down Premier League leaders, Liverpool.

But with City still fighting for silverware on four fronts, the Catalan is happy to rely on John Stones and Ilkay Gundogan until the end of the season.

Another player frequently linked with City is Ajax's Frenkie De Jong, but Guardiola has refused to add credence to the speculation. Nevertheless, after tonight's duel between Man City and Wolves concludes Matchday 22, we will have 15 games which have 45 points left to play.

Manchester City's official Twitter page quoted Guardiola, saying: "The big clubs don't buy players for six months".

"Maybe there aren't many, but there are players who can play in that role". Specifically Fernandinho's role, it's so hard to find.

Jurgen Klopp's side got back to winning ways with an important 1-0 victory against Brighton at the Amex on Saturday, a result that saw Liverpool extend their lead at the top of the Premier League to seven points. But of course, for the next season, it's an important target to find. But we can not do it every season.

A holding midfielder would be a priority for Guardiola because City now have no natural replacement for Fernandinho.

Neves, whose Wolves side visit the Etihad on Monday, tends to play as one of two holding midfielders, whereas Fernandinho performs that role on his own in the City line-up. There are not just one or two players to watch, there are three or four and when you're exhausted, they can put on new players.

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"We realised when we played them in the EFL Cup and in our first away game how complicated it would be", he said.

"Most of them are under contracts".

Guardiola has ruled out making any new signings in the January transfer window but says a new holding midfielder will be a priority for the start of next season. We are not going to pay £100m for a holding midfielder. That is not going to happen.

Wolves's reported asking price of £100 million is beyond... It looks simple but it's not simple.

"I am in touch quite often with Txiki, especially, because he is close to my door".

Although Fernandinho will be 34 by the end of the season Guardiola said City do not now have the finance to buy a replacement. "We put our standards high", he says.

"You can't judge a player when he plays once and then has three or four games beside me [on the bench]".

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